We all experience challenges in life — times when we could benefit from care and support. At First Presbyterian Church, we offer Stephen Ministry, a program of lay caregiving that is new to us but is in use in over 12,000 congregations across the country and world. It is an organized way for us to offer God’s love to those going through a stressful time such as chronic or terminal illness, grief, discouragement, divorce or separation, birth, adoption, miscarriage, infertility, or any of a number of other difficult situations.
The easiest way to understand Stephen Ministry to understand the three roles involved:
- Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation. They recruit and train Stephen Ministers, meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs, match care receivers with Stephen Ministers, and provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education. Dawn Frisch, Larry Gray (“Attention Larry”), and Carol Strickland have been trained and commissioned to be our Stephen Leaders.
- Stephen Ministers receive fifty hours of training. They provide care usually to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Men are paired with men, and women with women. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.
- Care Receivers are people—congregation members and others in the community—who receive confidential care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life. When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.
Please contact a Stephen Leader (listed above) if you would like more information. Also, visit www.stephenministries.org to learn more.